Stephen Duke, Correspondent
This past weekend, the Gamecocks were on the road in the state of Illinois for their meetups with Eastern Illinois and SIU Edwardsville. Entering the week with a two-game losing streak, the Gamecocks were hoping to get back into the win column on the road.
The Gamecocks entered Charleston, Illinois, home of Eastern Illinois, looking to start off the weekend strong against the Panthers. Unfortunately, that would not be the case. The Gamecocks came up one point short, losing to Eastern Illinois 70-69, in a game that saw the Gamecocks trailing by as much as 15 in the second half.
“I think the way the game ended was only fitting,” said head coach Ray Harper. “We probably had eight missed layups like that during the course of the game. You can’t do that and win.”
Elias Harden helped to get the score within one with eight seconds left to play, but unfortunately, De’Torrion Ware was unable to make the game-winning shot with one second remaining.
This potential game-winning shot was set up by a missed foul shot by Eastern Illinois’s Jordan Skipper-Brown with six seconds left, which was rebounded by Kanye Henry. Henry then ran the ball to the three-point line, passing the ball to Ware for him to shoot the game-winning shot.
Henry made some big plays and had a career night in the loss, scoring 16 points and collecting 14 rebounds for his first double-double game. He also made a three-point shot in the effort. Following Henry was Jacara Cross who tallied eight points and Harden who scored eleven.
On the other side, the Gamecocks couldn’t stop the red-hot Josiah Wallace, who scored twenty points for the Panthers. The loss on the road brought the Gamecocks losing streak to three.
Meanwhile, Saturday’s game brought a different result for the Gamecocks, as they defeated the SIUE Cougars in Edwardsville, Illinois, by a score of 64-56. Kanye Henry had yet another memorable performance for the Gamecocks, scoring 22 points alongside collecting 14 rebounds, resulting in back-to-back double-doubles for him. He is the first Gamecock of the season to reach this feat.
The Gamecocks trailed by as much as six through the first half. Despite this, the Gamecocks took a 27-24 lead into halftime, and never gave it back. The Gamecocks held the Cougars scoreless for the remaining three minutes of the first half.
The Gamecocks then led by as much as 16 in the second half. Eventually, SIUE cut into that lead in the final seconds, but the Cougars couldn’t quite pull off the comeback. They cut the lead to within six, but great defense by the Gamecocks kept the game from getting any closer. Two free throws from Ty Hudson in the final seconds brought the lead back to eight, where it would stay.
With the win, the Gamecocks finally broke their three-game losing streak, moving their record to 8-11 (3-3 OVC). The Gamecocks will be back at their home court at the Pete Mathews Coliseum for the next four OVC matchups, starting Thursday, January 23, at 7:30 p.m. where they will welcome the Eastern Kentucky Colonels. Fans can stream all games on ESPN+ or listen to the game live on 97.9 WVOK or 91.9 WLJS.